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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, U.S. sign nuclear cooperation pact

RIA Novosti

06/05/2008 19:24 MOSCOW, May 6 (RIA Novosti|) - Russia and the United States signed in Moscow on Tuesday an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation.

The agreement, signed by Rosatom state nuclear corporation head Sergei Kiriyenko and U.S. Ambassador to Russia William Burns, establishes the main principles of bilateral cooperation in civilian nuclear power usage.

Kiriyenko said the agreement opens vast opportunities for nuclear cooperation, also tightening the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

"Before this agreement was signed, no nuclear material or equipment from the U.S. could cross the Russian border, and vice versa," he said. "The agreement also opens opportunities for our cooperation in third countries."

He added that Russia has not imported and will not import nuclear waste from other countries.

"We only fulfill our own obligations," the Rosatom head said.

Russia and the U.S. are now cooperating in the nuclear sphere on the HEU-LEU project. The HEU-LEU contract, also known as the Megatons to Megawatts agreement, was signed in February 1993 and expires in 2013.

It aims to convert 500 metric tons of high-enriched uranium (HEU), the equivalent of approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads, from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is then converted into nuclear fuel for use in U.S. commercial reactors.

"The pact was drafted in accordance with Russian legislation and by taking into account the provisions of the 123 Agreement," a Rosatom official said, referring to an agreement falling under section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act.

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